Sunday, October 26, 2014

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, A


Matthew 22:34-40

Love God above all things and love your neighbor as you love yourself ...

Love is the primary consideration.  We know that love needs hands and feet.  It is not just something romantic or sexual.

And the primary consideration is this: a man who doesn't love God above all things will not be able to love a woman enough.

The love of God is the very reason for our existence.  His love through Jesus is the very cause of our salvation.  We need to reflect if the quality of our love for God reciprocates the love He has for us.

And how should we love God?  The whole of our being.  Remember the prayer of St. Ignatius, "Take, Lord, receive my liberty, my mind, my understanding, my will.  That that I have and who I am are yours.  Do with them as you will.  Only Your love and mercy are enough for me.

Give to God until there is nothing else to give ... except oneself.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, A

Yes to God

Matthew 22:1-10

Painting by Joey Velasco

What a beautiful promise from the book of Isaiah, "The Lord shall wipe the tears from their eyes..."

In the parable of Jesus, the king also possesses the same heart as God's, but the people are not attuned to his invitation.

The example of the man who is not appropriately dressed signifies the number of Catholics who want to receive God's gifts but have no time to serve Him in return.

St. Francis, in a classic film "Flowers of St. Francis" was seen inviting a rich man to give a loaf of bread.  But even if he was constantly pushed away by him, he would return.  He explained to the rich man that he didn't need the bread, but he was offering the man the chance to serve God.

Our parish workers are ashamed to go to our homes because we are too busy.  But they want to constantly invite people because they are offering the opportunity for the neighbors to serve the Lord and to be generous with the gifts they received from Him.

Perhaps, we can reflect again on the first reading on what the Lord actually promised to those who believe in Him so that we may think twice before rejecting His invitation:

1. "He shall prepare for us a banquet of rich food" - in contrast with lack of food that the world is experiencing because of greed and selfishness.  He wants to offer us abundant supply of food and jobs.  Participate in God's work and "nobody will be found wanting." (Acts 4, 34)

2. "He will destroy Death forever" - Our bodies are subjected to death because of sickness.  It is the same with spiritual Death brought about by a denial of the Lord to rule over our lives.  Let Him lead us each day to life.  Participate in life-giving activities, especially those that brings hope to people's lives.

3. "He will take away our shame" - because he will forgive us in Jesus.  The quest for grace is far more exciting than a life of sin.

Think twice before we say no to God.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, A

Trusted stewards

Matthew 21:33-43

photo courtesy of : Holy Redeemer by the Sea Catholic Parish

How could it have happened that despite all the care of the vine grower, the vineyard still yielded sour grapes?

But no matter what the causes are, we cannot prevent the vine grower what he is supposed to do: destroy the whole vineyard.

The vineyard is supposed to be the world and the vine grower is the Creator.  The plan is to create man in His image and likeness and entrust the created world to him so it could yield a fruitful harvest.  But do we reflect God's image and likeness?

In the gospel, the tenants seized all messengers and hurt them; they even killed the son.  The solution is simple: put an end to all their evil deeds and entrust the vineyard to those who can be trusted.

Pray to be a trusted steward of the Lord.  How?

First, know our mission: to be stewards of God and not to own this world to ourselves.

Second, think of the common good; think of the next generation.  May all we do be motivated by a desire to work for the good of all.

Third, think of our participation in the Church as a community of trusted stewards.  Put more flesh into being Catholics, not simply asking for blessings to but share our lives for others.

In these ways we can be trusted stewards.